This year it is six hundred years since a young peasant girl, the last or second last child in a family of 5, was born in the little village of Domremy, in the Champagne area and duchy of Lorraine. From this tiny, anodyne and banal event, unnoticed by many history sources, was born one of the biggest and more fascinating sagas of the French Middle Ages, if not the history of all of France.
To celebrate this anniversary, the historical character programme implemented by Vosges General Council deliberately focuses on the birth and childhood of Joan of Arc, more obscure and less well-known than her political and military era or her tragic end. It does not involve battles, intrigues, power struggles, captivity or death, but simply family life, childcare, childhood toys and games, social, religious and economic education methods which formed Joan of Arc as History knows her. It was the young Jeannette de Domremy, the “bonne Lorraine” who François Villon spoke of, who would be the heroine of this commemorative period before her departure from Domremy which opened up a new chapter in history.
Four key periods mark this trip : from the 1st May, a playful exhibition for all audiences will present the world of medieval childhood, using the representative and documented example of Joan of Arc; the 24-26 May, an international university symposium in Domremy and Vaucouleurs will produce the most recent research on the childhood, environment and education of Joan of Arc; in July and August, periodic historical recreation activities will enable the experience of parents and children in the Middle Ages, school life, games and care, to be shared. Finally, a new publication presenting the wealth of heritage in Joan of Arc’s region will be available to the public from summer 2012 to encourage tourist and cultural discovery of Joan of Arc’s birthplace.